Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan preview
In a matter of days Apple will give the world a first look at what the next version of OS X will look like. Even now rumours are suggesting some of the new features that we can expect to see in the successor to Yosemite, so we’re going to take a quick look at what they might mean we can expect from OS X 10.11 when it launches. We have high hopes, that we hope won’t be dashed by Apple when the next version launches.
We will update this preview of OS X 10.11 as soon as we have more information. We are hoping that following the WWDC briefing we will be able to get our hands on the beta version of the software so we can update this article fully.
OS X 10.11 will be the successor to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, so until we know what Californian location it will be named after we will refer to it as OS X 10.11.
It’s not likely to launch until the autumn, but typically Apple will offer a preview of Yosemite at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. There may be a demo version available shortly after for developers, and later in the summer a beta for members of the public lucky enough to make it onto Apple’s beta testing scheme.
Final release data isn’t likely to be until October, based on the past few years. When Apple does release it you can expect it to be a free update via the Mac App Store.
OS X 10.11 preview: Design
Given that Yosemite was a massive design change, we aren’t expecting a major redesign here, but we have heard that the San Francisco font that’s used on the Apple Watch is making its way to the Mac in OS X 10.11. It sounds like Apple will use San Francisco rather than Helvetica Neue as the system font. This concerns us a bit because we wonder how legible a font that’s been selected for its readability on a watch will be on a high-res display. It appears we aren’t the only ones who are concerned, apparently, some Apple engineers are not fans of the new font either and fear it will not look great on non-Retina screens.
OS X 10.11 preview: Stability
One major rumour is that the main focus of OS X 10.11 will be stability rather than new features. If this is the case this update will be akin to the Snow Leopard update, which built on Leopard with a focus on quality.
Given the issues and bugs that plagued the launch of Yosemite, we think this focus is a good idea. Hopefully Apple will fix many of the problems users had with Yosemite, and we trust we won’t be subjected to the WiFi connection problems in early versions of Yosemite that made it impossible for some Mac users to even download the fix when it was issued because they couldn’t get on a WiFi network to connect to the internet.
OS X 10.11 preview: Security
Speaking of WiFi, apparently Apple is working on a new feature called Trusted WiFi that will arrive in OS X 10.11. Trusted WiFi will allow Macs and iOS devices to connect to trusted routers without requiring security measures. However, when you connect to a non-trusted router your data will be heavily encrypted. Apple is said to be testing its own apps and third-party apps to make sure that they still work when this feature is enabled which sounds like a sensible thing to do given the WiFi problems in Yosemite.
Another security measures that Apple is said to be developing is a new kernel-level security system called "rootless". This is designed to curb malware and will also protect your data and prevent others from accessing protected files.
There is one more security feature that Apple is said to be working on: iCloud Drive file encryption for apps is apparently being rearchitectured.
As a result of this focus on stability and security apparently some of the features that were planned for the upgrade will not arrive until 2016.
OS X 10.11 preview: iCloud Drive update
Apparently there are some back end changes to iCloud Drive on the way that should protect your data and also improve syncing and speed.
Apple is said to be moving some of its IMAP-based apps over to iCloud Drive. IMAP-based apps include Notes, Reminders, and Calendar and currently they use an IMAP-based back end for syncing content. Moving them all to iCloud Drive will allow Apple to improve communication and offer faster syncing between the apps. Security will also be improved because Apple will be able to offer end-to-end encryption for the data.
We hope the transition from IMAP to iCloud Drive will be simple for users, reports suggest users will just see a dialogue box offering to import the data.
Apple is also said to be upgrading its iCloud Drive servers in order to sustain the anticipated increase in usage. We hope that this upgrade will also put a stop to the too frequent iCloud outages.
OS X 10.11 preview: Control Centre
Perhaps the biggest change in OS X 10.11, as far as consumers are concerned, will be the addition of Control Center to OS X. Control Centre was a feature rumored for OS X Yosemite, it was even seen in early betas of that software. It appears that Control Centre may finally find its way into the next version of OS X. If it does expect it to be something like the Mac Menu Bar, including music controls, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as other features similar to the Control Center on iOS, like access to Do Not Disturb.
Apparently Control Center will be a pane that slides out from the left side of the display.
OS X 10.11 preview: Swift
The other feature coming in OS X 10.11 that we are hearing about relates to Swift. Apple’s said to be updating its programming language, which is apparently going to reach “Application Binary Interface (ABI) stability”. This means that its code libraries will come pre-installed in the new Mac operating systems. That might sound boring to consumers, but what it means is that Swift applications will require less space.
Apple will apparently not be shipping Swift versions of its own applications this year, but the company is said to be planning to convert its own apps to Swift in 2016.
We can't possibly give a verdict yet as we don't have a crystal ball, but it looks like iOS X 10.11 will shape up to be a necessary update that will fix many of the issues that plagued Yosemite when it launched. Consumers may find it boring, but behind the scenes we hope Apple's tweaks will make a big differnce.